The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is free to reopen its investigation into the bungalow deal involving former finance minister Lim Guan Eng if new leads surface.
In a parliamentary reply, de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said nothing is obstructing MACC from doing so as it is an independent enforcement body.
“MACC is an independent body that conducts investigations into graft, abuse of power and misappropriation.
“There is no obstruction (for MACC) to reopen the investigation if there is fresh evidence concerning the case,” he told Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PAS-Pasir Mas).
“DNAA means that the accused is released, but he is not fully released.
“However, the court, after hearing the prosecution’s submission about new leads, granted him a full acquittal. The attorney-general did not appeal the court’s decision,” he said.
The PAS lawmaker asked if the government intended to reopen the investigation into the corruption case involving Lim.
There were calls from Umno leaders, particularly those charged with various criminal charges, that the Muhyiddin Yassin-led government should act fairly by prosecuting the opposition.
Those urging the government to take action included former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak who was convicted on all charges involving SRC International Sdn Bhd and former Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor, who was charged for receiving bribes.
Lim was previously slapped with two charges – one for allegedly seeking gratification for himself over the conversion of state land from agriculture to residential, and the other, for the purchase of a bungalow at below market value.
Besides this, Lim was also summoned by MACC in relation to the Penang state government’s RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.
Thus far, MACC had arrested one Penang Port Commission officer and raided three companies believed linked to the case.
MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki had said that the investigation was related to money laundering.
The tunnel project was planned when Lim was Penang chief minister. – MKINI
PETALING JAYA: Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng cannot be charged again for the same offence regarding the purchase of his bungalow in 2015, as that would be unconstitutional, a DAP leader said today.
The party’s legal bureau chairman, Ramkarpal Singh, said the “double jeopardy” rule in the Federal Constitution does not allow a person to be charged a second time for the same offence.
Earlier today, de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was free to reopen investigations into the bungalow purchase if new evidence surfaced.
Ramkarpal said: “The MACC can investigate all it wants but it is barred from further pursuing a charge against Lim in respect of the said bungalow case.”
Charges against Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Khoon were dropped in September 2018 and the court granted them an acquittal. The public prosecutor did not appeal against the decision.
The MACC had then expressed shock over the decision to free Lim and Phang, saying the recommendation was made by the AG’s Chambers and did not come from the agency.
Ramkarpal said Article 7(2) of the Federal Constitution states that a person cannot be tried again for the same offence unless the conviction or acquittal has been quashed and a retrial ordered by a higher court.
“As such, even if new evidence were to emerge Lim cannot be charged again as a result of further investigations,” he said. It made “no sense” to investigate the case further.
Lim had been accused of using his public office to obtain gratification for himself and his wife by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd to convert agricultural land for residential purposes during a state executive council meeting on July 18, 2014.
He was also charged with using his position to obtain gratification by purchasing a bungalow from Phang at below its market value. Phang was charged with abetting him. – FMT
MKINI / FREE MALAYSIA TODAY